Written by: Hasan PRETENI
PRISHTINA, 28 December 2007 – Centuries of efforts of the people of Kosovo for freedom, democracy and independence are fortunately being finalized according to the aspirations. But the new Kosovo will also have other challenges that must be overcome successfully. And one of them is the fight against corruption. I believe that all agree that it would be ideal if the new institutional leadership of Kosovo early in their mandate put the fight against corruption as a priority of all priorities. (This article reflects the views of Mr. Preteni in relation to the necessity of coordination of actions in institutional line to combat corruption in 2008.
A year ago, we defined certain principles in fighting corruption. One of them was the realization of citizens' awareness campaigns to cooperate with us in the fight against corruption. In this regard, we managed to have very encouraging results. However, seeing that the offices where authorities are could easily be turned into corruption nests, this time we thought to try to encourage maximum awareness of civil servants to cultivate transparency and cooperate with us in order to have a standard to protect public money from misuse.
Efforts to prevent and educate civil servants to remove out of their offices every corrupt tendency, is of great value. In January 2008 we will start this work. I hope that we will achieve encouraging results and challenge the barriers that we face in our fight against corruption.
The Agency has so far had as the main principle zero tolerance towards everyone. Every time for us has been and will remain insignificant every "big" name that has held or holds senior positions when it comes to violating the law, having only one option, facing the justice. The fight against corruption is crucial. It has to do, more than anything else, with the law.
Throughout the year, we have worked to educate and make aware the people to be a powerful shield in preventing corruption and strengthening the legal nomenclature, but not even once there should be room for complacency. However, said in the most sincere way, we have tried to put all our energy on the law as a principle of everything. We have had clear results which will be reported in the annual report in front of the Assembly of Kosovo.
However, so far we have filed to the prosecutor 44 cases. Now we begin to feel an unwillingness of institutions that have the responsibility to take our cases and to finalize them. There is almost a year since we filed to the prosecutor the first two cases. So far we have not even been notified how far the prosecution has gone on them. We want to know this, because we are also asked by the people who have had the civic courage to report cases of corruption that they have encountered.
Despite neglect and unprofessional behaviour demonstrated towards our cases, we are extremely determined to continue to prosecute all those who abuse public money, who misuse the official duty, in short all those that demonstrate the corruptive behaviour. We are witness of a powerful all popular mobilization to gain freedom, democracy and independence of Kosovo. In the years after the war, every beginning of the year had as a motto the call for achieving independence. Now that this issue counts only the days, let the year 2008 be a year of calls and joint efforts to eradicate corruption.
(The author is Director of Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency)